How weird that Sittingbourne have won, drawn and lost in the last week but the one they won was against by far the best opponents.
Sittingbourne were so on top in the first half of this game that it was amazing they only led by a goal, but in the end they just about scraped a point thanks to an 88th minute own goal.
Chatham are third bottom in the league and the table doesn’t lie, but they escaped up the A2 with the draw as a reward for a determined second half recovery.
In a bitingly cold wind and with the floodlights on from the start, it felt like the first day of winter at Woodstock as Sittingbourne endeavoured to follow up on an excellent midweek win over high-riding Corinthian Casuals.
They made one change from that team, Hicham Akhazzan coming in for Tom Brunt, with Michal Czanner continuing in as stand-in goalkeeper for the injured Simon Overland.
Sittingbourne started as if they were going to overwhelm Chatham, a team they always seem to do well against.
The approach work wasn’t matched by the finishing, though, with Jordan Gallacher, Steven Ita, Ricky Gundry and Jono Richardson all missing the target with good chances.
Chatham were rocking but Czanner did have to pull off one decent diving save in a rare breakaway attack.
Sittingbourne took a deserved and overdue lead on the half-hour when Akhazzan cleverly played in Gundry and although he was driven slightly wide he thumped a goal from a narrowing angle past the club he started the season with.
The second half looked like being more of the same as Sittingbourne drove forward but they conceded a 48th minute goal from their own corner. The ball went back to Joe Loft and he laid it off to Stefan Wright on the halfway line. But Wright hesitated fractionally and then unluckily slipped, allowing Jackson to race away unchallenged on goal and score well.
Poor old Wright, who plays with so much commitment, had a dreadful week – sent off on Tuesday, gave a goal away and was then substituted here, meaning he ended both matches sloping off down the tunnel early with his head bowed.
There’s nothing like a goal to give a team confidence and suddenly it was Chatham pushing forward and Sittingbourne unable to regain a foothold in a game they’d been dominating.
And it got worse for Sittingbourne on 73 minutes when a shot was blocked but fell just right for Medley to put Chatham into the lead.
A second 2-1 defeat on successive Saturdays to a team struggling near the foot of the table looked to be on the cards.
But Sittingbourne rescued at least the one point with two minutes left.
Sub Conrad Lee hit a brilliant cross from wide out and although Gundry just missed it with his attempted header – he’d have loved to score that one – he must have unsighted Chatham defender Patterson on the far post and the ball hit him and bounced into his own goal.
A point saved, and one that keeps Sittingbourne in the top half of the table – and not a single fireworks day reference, yet, to a game that started and finished with a bang but was a bit of a damp squib in between.
Ken Medwyn's photographs are here CLICK HERE
Match Day programme, Best viewed in Google Chrome
Ricky Gundry 30 mins
Patterson O.G 89 mins
Joshua Jackson 49 mins
Luke Medley 74 mins
Referee: Mr Gerry Heron
Assistants: Mr Olly Fyfe
Mr Alexis Stacchini
Jono Richardson (C)
Joe Loft (Yellow)
Hicham Akhazzan (Dan Parkinson57 mins)
Stefan Wright (Jake Embery 52 mins)
Ricky Gundry (Yellow)
Jordan Gallacher (Conrad Lee 71 mins)
Subs not used: Danny Rumbol, Nick Davis
Jerrald Aboagye (Yellow)
Marlon Patterson (Yellow)
Liam Hickey (Yellow)
Owen Price (Ejirio Okusieme 42 mins)
Luke Medley (Javlon Campbell 90 mins)
Subs not used: Josh Bray, Abdul Lyoubi, Jon Difford
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